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After queens are raised, they need to be mated. Traditionally, this has been done using a 5-frame nucleus box with full size frames for each individual queen. This method take a lot of bees out of honey production during a crucial time of the season. In Europe, a common piece of equipment for mating queens is a mini mating nuc hive. This method of mating queens only requires using a cupful of bees at a time.
Our mini queen mating nucleus hive is made of polystyrene which help keep the bees at a consistent 93 to 95 degree F temperature. It comes with three 4 inch plastic frames, a closeable entrance, feed chamber, extra box, top, queen excluder (to keep the queen out of the feed), a ventilation grid for circulation, and a removable, vented plastic bottom which provides for extra ventilation and easy cleaning. 9" long, 6" wide and 9" high.
1. Attach a 1" strip of pure beeswax foundation to the bottom of the top bar of each frame. This strip of foundation can be attached using melted, warm beeswax and a turkey baster. Place the prepared frames into the hive (in the bottom box). The bees will draw out and build more wax cells from this starter strip.
2. Fill the feeder compartment with liquid sugar syrup (1:1 ratio of sugar and water). The feeder compartment is the small compartment in the same box as the frames. The frames and feed are separated by a plastic excluder.
3. Shake some young bees into a box and spray with sugar syrup. Drop one large cupful of these sticky, wet bees into the mini nuc on top of the frames. It is best to remove one of the frames so that the bees can move down into the box easier. Replace this frame once all the bees have moved down.
4. Close up the nuc by placing the extra middle box and the top onto the bottom box.
5. Let sit for about an hour and then introduce the virgin queen into the nuc from the adjustable entrance.
6. Leave in a cool, dark place for 2 to 3 days.
7. Take the nuc to the chosen site and release the mated queen into the queenless hive.
8. Check the newly queened hive in 10 days to 2 weeks for signs of laying.